Transgenerational health effects of in utero exposure to economic hardship: Evidence from preindustrial Southern Norway

Emre Sari*, Mikko Moilanen, Hilde Leikny Sommerseth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

We studied whether in utero exposure to economic hardship during a grandmother’s pregnancy has a transgenerational effect on her grandchildren's health condition. We used an individual-level three-generation data set covering people born between 1734 and 1840 in the municipality of Rendalen in Norway. We found a culling effect in which grandchildren whose grandmothers gave birth in years of economic hardship lived approximately ten years longer than grandchildren whose mothers were born in years of economic well-being. This impact was only observed among the grandmothers who belong to the lowest social classes. Our results also showed that in higher social classes, economic hardship during a grandmother’s pregnancy deteriorated her grandchildren’s health by “scarring” the mother’s health.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101060
JournalEconomics and Human Biology
Volume43
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Culling effect
  • Economic hardship
  • Historical population
  • Scarring effect
  • Transgenerational effects

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